If you watched the new series Undercover Boss that debuted right after the SuperBowl then you probably wondered what would be discovered if you did the same (assuming you are the boss reading this).
This series is a perfect display of an organization not being fully conscious of how their brand is lived and breathed from the inside out. A common oversight, but could be a fatal mistake in the long run.
Remember Larry O’Donnell’s (CEO of Waste Management) realization that some of the issues he experienced personally were mandates that came directly from him own office? Wow! What an eye opener for him and his leadership teams. I’ve searched their website and did not find a listing of core values per se, but a lot on their company governance, mission, and their THINK GREEN tenants: https://www.wm.com/wm/about/itged.asp
G – Great operations
- Be safe.
- Do it right the first time.
Great operations are important to make sure we are delivering the best service to our customers and to run our operations safely. Doing things right the first time helps from cost efficiency, safety and customer service, to missed pickups and reliable trucks.
R – Respected brand
- Have pride.
- Be clean. Be professional.
Our brand is everything a customer can experience about Waste Management: our people, uniforms, trucks, commercials, landfills, containers, service, driving – everything. A Respected brand helps us provide value to our shareholders, bring in new customers, and attract and retain committed employees. When we all take pride in what we do and show it through our everyday actions — such as being friendly, clean and professional — we contribute to a positive image of our brand.
E – Empowered employees
- Fix it. Fix it now.
- Have fun.
Having Empowered employees is important if we are going to be a best place to work. That means employees who care about our customers and have the tools they need to take personal responsibility for fixing any problem they encounter.
E – Engaged customers
- Prefer us.
- Recommend us.
We want to be the waste solutions provider of choice for our customers. To do that we need to have engaged customers. This means that our customers aren’t just satisfied, but are loyal. As a part of the WM team, we have to work together to make our customers prefer us, and even better, recommend us to others.
N – Neighbors of each other and our environment
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
- Protect the environment.
At WM we want to be good neighbors of each other and our environment. We all do this by treating our fellow employees and the communities where we live and work with dignity and respect, and by protecting the environment on and off the job.
The above listing of GREEN tenents came directly from their site. As you can see, if you watched the show, many of these tenents are nearly impossible to live by the employees due to ‘corporate’s’ mandate on productivity and efficiencies.
So, if the brand truly believes the GREEN philosophy it wrote, then why is it overriding it with new rules that negate the ability to be the brand? This example is not new, in fact we find it CLASSIC in many relatively successful businesses. Why? Because complacency sets in and the brand is not top-of-mind every single day.
It is not that difficult to do – it is just an awareness that is not only touted through visual posters and corporate ezines, but must be present in the everyday brand vocabulary, collaboration, training, systems and processes, culture, leadership and teambuilding within the organization.
Our mission is to help businesses do just that. First, define the brand, second, build it at the internal levels of the organization, then live it with energy and meaning. This function is the single-most overlooked business (brand) building strategy we have experienced. So our message, 1) Stop marketing, for now 2) start Branding, AND 3) watch the next Undercover boss and learn from their oversights! It could be the difference between building a good brand vs. a TRULY GREAT ONE!